Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dell, HP, Apple

Dell has been a pioneer. I have appreciated its singular focus over decades to bring the price down for the consumer. Dell reminds me of Walmart.

HP places major emphasis on innovation, and hence Carly Fiorina's famous criticism of Dell being a "one trick wonder." HP reminds me of NASA.

Apple is a high class act. Steve Jobs is the guy you go to to get your BMW. Apple sells cool.

All three are PC companies ill suited for a paradigm shift. You can't eat your own belly.


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In The News

Rupert Murdoch Speaks His Mind BusinessWeek "I just want to live forever" .... "I enjoy myself too much." ..... The prospect of supporting New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for President is "really tempting," said Murdoch, who noted that such a campaign would cost Bloomberg "a billion dollars, which apparently doesn't worry him." ..... When asked about his relationship with Senator Hillary Clinton (D–N.Y.), Murdoch replied that, along with the questioner, he didn't understand it. ..... Murdoch's sensibility and wit were honed at newspaper tabloids, and they surfaced in some sly onstage jabs. Recalling a fund-raiser he held for Senator Clinton, he said "she was very impressive in the way she handled issues, and sidestepped them." ...... a Fox Business Channel would launch this fall .... Pressed on the point of political bias, he casually lashed out at the Times. It's "outrageously biased," he said. "Just read Page One every day." He compared it to his less objective, more visceral New York Post, which he said designed its Page One to sell papers. ...... Murdoch, now married to the Chinese-American former News Corp. executive Wendi Deng, also made it clear his ardor had cooled for the media business in China. India "is a working democracy, with rule of law. We find it is most exciting" among developing countries for media. ..... "China is immense, [but its government] is not opening it up yet."
Google Steps Into Microsoft's Office the search leader has offered a test version of an online office productivity software suite, called Google Apps for Your Domain, that lets companies offload e-mail systems to Google while keeping their own e-mail addresses. Soon, it's expected to add word-processing and spreadsheet services to the suite, which includes an online calendar, chat service, and Web page builder. In coming weeks, Google Apps will turn into a real business as Google begins charging corporations a subscription fee amounting to a few dollars per person per month. ..... Microsoft's stated aim to extend its Office franchise to the Web—suggests that before long these two titans of tech will be battling over many of the same corporate customers. .... a dawning era in corporate computing: software delivered as a service over the Internet, so it's accessible anywhere there is a Web browser handy. This time consumers are leading the way as they flock to Web-based applications such as e-mail, chat, and phone services like eBay Inc.'s (EBAY ) Skype Technologies ..... As traditional corporate software has grown complex and expensive to maintain, Web services are getting more capable and reliable every year. "For the first time, consumer-grade applications are good enough that they can be used by enterprises" .... Arizona State University plans to switch most of its 65,000 students to Gmail, Google Calendar, and a customized "start page" this month. ..... Corporate users, accustomed to feature-rich applications from the likes of Microsoft and IBM (IBM ), are more demanding than consumers. ..... Google got a taste last October when it switched over most of its own employees, who mainly had used Microsoft Outlook e-mail and Oracle Corp.'s (ORCL ) calendar program, to Gmail and Google Calendar. Some features on the old systems that Googlers considered crucial—such as a way to schedule all those company-paid massages—weren't available on the new system. In all, employees shot back more than 1,000 requests for new features in the first two weeks after the changeover. ........ Office Live, which offers Web-based e-mail, calendar, and other services in packages ranging from free to $39.95 a month for a single business. Some 250,000 small businesses use it, compared with tens of thousands using Google Apps ...... Zimbra Inc. boasts more than 6 million e-mail boxes at 1,300 paying customers.
Rivals Say HP Is Using Hardball Tactics Cheaper store-brand inkjet printer cartridges have come on strong recently and now make up about a quarter of the market for replacement cartridges in the U.S. ..... those replacement cartridges typically sell for 10% to 15% less than HP's ...... "The speculation is that [Staples] reached a deal with HP and got increased margin and soft money for marketing"
GM: Learning the Ropes in Russia
They created GM-Avtovaz, a $340 million joint venture based near the main Avtovaz factory in Togliatti. The thinking was that partnership with Avtovaz would give GM an inside track on penetrating the Russian market and help GM keep costs down by sourcing cheap components from Avtovaz. In turn, Avtovaz expected that GM would help provide management know-how, technology, and access to export markets. ...... Russian consumers proved to be just as discerning as Westerners when it comes to insisting on the latest technology. ..... tensions between the two partners erupted into open conflict in early 2006, when Rosoboronexport, Russia's state-owned arms-export agency, took over Avtovaz and brought in new managers. Avtovaz suddenly stopped supplying engines and other components to the venture, accusing GM of underpaying for parts. ...... Ford (F), now the best-selling foreign car brand in Russia .... The betting is that GM will do better on its own, rather than entangled with a Russian partner.
Davos Ponders a U.S.-Iran War
a confab devoted to the peaceful advances of globalization. .... an agenda devoted to the broad topics of peaceful reform was quickly overshadowed by the idea that the Bush Administration would start a war against the mullah-dominated regime of Tehran .... a U.S.-Iran conflict would set the clock back for the whole area. "Can we afford another war?" asked Mubarak. "Of course not. All the genies would come out of the bottle." ...... the huge illiteracy rate in the region—some 70 million lack basic reading and writing skills. Such a deficit he suggested, was responsible for the radicalization of certain elements in the region, especially in Iraq—many Iraqis lacked the tools to form a rounded, accurate worldview. ..... moderates in the Arab world often were mistaken by Americans as being moderate out of sympathy with the U.S. Not true: "We're moderates for the sake of our country .... That world right now is deeply worried about another American war in its midst.
What To Expect At Davos
23 different risks, such as global warming, terrorism, oil price shocks, a hard landing for China, and so on. ..... 2,400 people—half business, half other stakeholders in the global society, including 25 heads of state ..... everywhere in society and business, the power is moving from the center to the periphery. Vertical command-and-control structures are being eroded and replaced by communities and different platforms. We are moving into the Web 2.0 world, and this has tremendous implications on the national level and on business models. .... If we don't discuss and solve the conflict between Israel and Palestine, the world will look very different in 10 years.
Selling Globalization at Davos
while the thousands of luminaries gathered in this alpine bubble share a common belief in the benefits of globalization, they are also aware that it enjoys far less support among ordinary citizens. ...... rising signs of anti-globalization—ranging from the potential failure of the Doha round of trade talks to concerns that countries may erect trade barriers to protect jobs and markets. ...... How to convince a wary public that the risks of globalization are outweighed by the economic benefits .... "We have to stop using abstract concepts such as GDP growth and explain globalization instead in terms such as job creation, prices, and taxes," Davis said. Most people, he explained, don't realize that the same forces pulling jobs offshore also drive down prices for the goods they buy at the local superstore. ...... acknowledge the arguments of globalization opponents and take concrete steps to address their legitimate concerns ..... a national health-care system. .... retraining programs for displaced workers. .... globalization means customizing its products for different markets, putting staff on the ground all over the world, and investing deeply in local communities. ...... Unilever, for instance, is famous for selling products such as shampoo and laundry soap in tiny packets that cost people of limited means only pennies. "This is business, not philanthropy, and we make lots of money from it," Cescau said. At the same time, the company supports programs such as Project Shakti, which teaches poor women in rural India about nutrition and hygiene. ........ one reason globalization isn't more appealing is that it demands more work and greater risk-taking from everybody—including people in emerging economies .... local providers who previously enjoyed a cozy local market may suddenly face increased competition—or even ruin—from a deep-pocketed multinational that moves into the market. ...... globalization has victims on all sides ...... globalization also has beneficiaries on all sides ..... corporate social responsibility .... it has to be built into each corporation's fundamental strategy. "You can't have a healthy company without a healthy community." ...... Properly executed, globalization also creates huge opportunity. "Having a global market to serve is an incentive to innovate more," noted Columbia University professor and economist Joseph Stiglitz. ...... the learning that takes place when people from around the world work together. ..... India's famous "frugal engineering" culture ...... In today's car industry, knowing how to design a cheap car is an invaluable skill
The Transformation of Turkey
Hrant Dink, the outspoken editor of Turkey's main Turkish and Armenian-language newspaper, was gunned down. ..... Tens of thousands of Turks have demonstrated to condemn the murder and demand justice. ...... the power of networks to promote change, open closed societies, and cross cultural barriers. ..... "Turkey has become very open, very fast." ..... From a single state-owned TV station, more than 300 stations have emerged. Eleven hundred radio channels crowd the airwaves. Every private school is now linked to the Internet, and the government is distributing 400,000 PCs to schoolchildren. ..... Turkish courts are now basing more of their own rulings on the corpus of judgments found in EU law books. ...... Under the present government, Turkey has opened its economy to a surprising degree. ...... Maybe globalization can help Turkey finish its transformation.Foreign direct investment has zoomed from $1 billion to $18 billion. GDP growth has averaged 7%—not quite in China's league, but close. .... Ford has invested hundreds of millions in auto plants in Turkey—and ended up with one of its most productive facilities anywhere. .... Toyota, Honda, Electrolux—multinationals are flocking to the country to benefit from workers that cost $500 a month, universities that churn out engineers, and managers who grasp the concept of quality.
Merkel Calls for Stronger U.S.-EU Ties After a rocky start, the German Chancellor has achieved international respect on the back of a solid domestic economic rebound. ...... problems ranging from trade barriers and economic imbalances to energy and climate change. ..... a call for Europe to strengthen its historic "transatlantic" relationship with the U.S. This is perhaps indicative of her growing concern over Russia's growing clout. Moscow has taken to using its oil and gas riches as a tool to punish wayward neighbors and exert greater influence over policymaking in Western Europe. ....... Merkel began by identifying what she said have been the three seminal global events of the last two decades: the fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequent reintegration of the Eastern bloc countries into the West; the technology boom, exemplified by the global Internet explosion; and the rise of China and India from "static, controlled economies to active participants on the global stage." She urged that their economic power be matched by participation in global policymaking. ....... Merkel's prescription for Europe includes continuing integration, such as an additional 25% reduction in the cost of internal trade within the bloc over the next decade. ...... reinvigorate the process of enacting a new European constitution. ..... the need to mitigate capital market risks with adequate protections. A particular source of concern is hedge funds, which the Chancellor called a "headache" in the struggle to balance risk and equity. ...... Western Europe's dependence on Russian energy supplies.
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Is Dell Too Big For Michael Dell? BusinessWeek "I think you're going to see a more streamlined organization, with a much clearer strategy." .... Dell doesn't have the innovation DNA of an Apple or even an HP ..... According to a Jan. 30 study done by Goldman Sachs (GS), Dell is losing share in business spending for PCs. (Hewlett-Packard is also losing share of spending, while Lenovo (LNVGY) and Apple are gaining.) .... "I'm not hiring a COO or a CEO," Dell says. "I'm going to be the CEO for the next several years." He adds: "We're going to fix this business."
Michael Dell In Charge, "Period" Kevin is a great friend of mine, and he did a fantastic job for the company. But that's done ..... "Having a clear, unified strategy and focus and organization is what the company needs. ..... I'm a decisive guy, and we're moving fast. .... Dell's core strengths historically will be its core strengths in the future., 11/9/06, "Dell Stands By His Man"
Google's Brand New Appeal More than ever, it's got the entire advertising world in its sights. And this year, Google will come out with guns blazing. ..... now accounts for about a quarter of all online advertising ...... many advertisers are starting to use search ads for branding, like more traditional ads. .... company aims to offer a "complete sales and marketing platform for all advertisers ..... Volvo, Procter & Gamble (PG), and OfficeMax (OMX) all placed image and video ads on Google's networks.

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